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[Report] SENEWS-2007-09-30 Report

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Now the VOA Special English Program Words and Their Stories.

Every people has its own way of saying thing. Its own special expresses. These are the living speech of a people and a stroy can be told about each of them.

The white swan with its long graceful neck is among the most beautiful of birds. The swan is mostly silent through its life. It floats quietly on the water, unable to sing sweet songs like most other birds.

In ancient times, however, people believed that the swan was given a special gift of song at the end of the life. They believed a swan sings a most beautiful song just before it dies. The ancient great philosopher Socrates talked of this 2300 years ago. Socrates explained that the swan was singing because it was happy. The bird was happy because it was going to sever the Greek God Apollo. Swans were holy to Apollo, the God of poetry and song. The story of the swan's last song found place in works of other writers. Incuding the early English writers, Chaucer and Shakespeare.

And the expression "swan song" has long been a part of the English language. At first, swan song meant the last work of the poet, musician or writer. Now it means the final effort of any person. Someone's swan song usually is also considered that person's finest work. The political expression with the similar meaning is the "last hurrah". The expression may be used to describe a politician's last campaign. His final attepmt to win the cheers and votes of the people. The last hurrah also can mean the last acts of a politician before his term in the office ends.

Writer Edwin O' corner made the expression poluar in 1956. He wrote a book about the final years political life of a long time mayor of Boston, Massachusetts. He called his book the Last Hurrah. Some language experts say the expression came from a name given to noisy supporters of Andew Jackson - America's Seventh President. They cheered hurrah so loudly for Andy Jachson during his presidential campaign. That they became known as the hurrah boys. Jackson's hurrah boys also played a part in the election to choose the next president. Jackson's choice was his vice president Matin Van Buren.

On newspaper of the time reported that Van Buren was elected president, in his words, by the hurrah boys and those who knew just enough to shot hurrah for Jackson. So President Jackson really heard his last hurrahs in the campaign of another candidate, the man who would replaced him in the White House.

This VOA Special English Program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Christiano. Morris Joyce was its narrator. I'm Shirley Griffith.
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